Ipswich: Retailers urge council to turn down new bid for Grafton Way site after Tesco pulled out

Building work on the site of the new Tesco, Grafton Way, Ipswich

Building work on the site of the new Tesco, Grafton Way, Ipswich

Representatives of town centre retailers are begging the borough to turn down the speculative bid for planning permission for a new store at Grafton Way.

Tesco confirmed in the spring that it was pulling out of plans to develop a new supermarket, hotels and housing development on the riverside site.

However, it said it would be continuing to seek planning permission for the scheme in the hope that it could sell the site on to another developer.

Now Ipswich Central, the BID (Business Improvement District) company which represents businesses in the heart of the town, has written to the borough urging councillors to turn down the speculative application.

In his letter to the council, Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “Businesses in the main retail area of the town centre need a sign of strong support from their local authority and I would ask you to ensure that this is demonstrated by a refusal of this application.

“The BID rarely involves itself in planning considerations, but the sheer scale of opposition amongst our levy payers means that we cannot sit idly by and observe in this instance.”

Mr Clement said that nearly 80% of BID members who took part in a consultation on the proposal were opposed to a development which was wholly speculative now that Tesco had said it would not be building itself.

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He said by refusing this application, it would allow attention to switch to other potential schemes that could be of more benefit to the town, including The Link scheme in Lower Brook Street which would help join the Waterfront to the town centre.

And refusing the application would also send a clear signal to developers that the council was keen to pursue a “town centre first” policy when it came to major retail developments in Ipswich – a policy that had been damaged by the initial permission granted to Tesco more than three years ago.

Should the borough reject the new application? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk.

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